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You’re probably using Facebook wrong. But don’t feel bad — so is practically everyone else. That might be why there are so many articles out there talking about how Facebook is ruining our lives. An unconfigured Facebook page can  be desperately annoying — but there are ways to clean it up 3 New Tricks To Clean Up Your Facebook News Feed [Weekly Facebook Tips] 3 New Tricks To Clean Up Your Facebook News Feed [Weekly Facebook Tips] Since joining Facebook, you probably made friends with lots and lots of people for many different reasons - some may not be very relevant anymore. It's time to clean up your feed, isn't it? Read More .

Why does Facebook suck? There’s the usual bad behavior: vaguebooking What Is The Imbecilic Art Of Vaguebooking? What Is The Imbecilic Art Of Vaguebooking? You may not have heard of the term Vaguebooking, but I can guarantee you will have seen at least one example of it in action. Certainly if you're active on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or any... Read More , drama, and endless quizzes QuizUp: The Quiz App to End All Quiz Apps QuizUp: The Quiz App to End All Quiz Apps Read More . Then there’s politics. There’s still over a year left until the US election, but that hasn’t stopped your irritatingly political friends from flooding your page with memes and posts about abortion, gay marriage, immigration, and the minimum wage. If your blood pressure rose just skimming that last sentence, you know what I’m talking about.

Here’s the problem: if you don’t have very strong views on these issues, all of these posts are incredibly annoying. If you do have strong views on these issues, at least half of the these posts are still incredibly annoying. And the other half aren’t really telling you anything new.

Trendingtopics

Then to top it off, Facebook insists on showing you trending topics in the sidebar Facebook's Trending Topics - Should You Stop Using Hashtags Now? [Weekly Facebook Tips] Facebook's Trending Topics - Should You Stop Using Hashtags Now? [Weekly Facebook Tips] Facebook recently announced a new "Trending Topics" feature, to make it easy to see what the world was talking about on Facebook. But what happened to hashtags? What should we use now? Read More , which gets dominated by politics and whatever the Kardashians are up to lately. There’s no way to turn it off; and, while Facebook does let you tell it which stories you don’t want to see, this doesn’t appear to actually do anything.

If you find yourself regularly being sucked into long political Facebook arguments with friends-of-friends, you probably need to take control of your Facebook. Ditto if you’re constantly annoyed by celebrity news or friends who can’t function without constantly marinating in sympathy and attention.

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We’ve talked about how to clean up your Facebook feed before, and this advice is still good. But there are some techniques that go further, and let you really tune Facebook to do exactly what you want. Today, we’re going to talk about three strategies and tools to make Facebook work for you.

Block Domains

HideFromDomain

 

Did you know that Facebook lets you block articles from specific websites? It’s true! One good way to use this is to keep an eye out for articles that annoy you. That means clickbait, politics, the works.

Every time you see one, click on the little gray arrow in the upper right hand corner of the article, and select “Hide All From ____” where “____” is the name of the domain. Most articles come from a small handful of websites. If you block every domain that posts annoying articles, your feed will improve quickly. (Nothing against io9, by the way — this was just the first article that came up on my news feed).

The only thing to keep an eye out for here is that some domains are a mixed bag, and have genuine value to offer, even if they are occasionally annoying. In those cases, you’re probably better off letting the domain stay and using some of the more sophisticated strategies that we’ll talk about in a moment.

Mute Users

This one may seem basic, but a lot of people overlook it. Unfriending people can be awkward, even if they bug you. The good news is that Facebook is aware of this, and offers a feature calling “Unfollowing” which lets you remain friends publicly, but prevents their posts from showing up on your feed. This feature is incredibly powerful for making Facebook less irritating.

Again, keep an eye out for annoying posts, and unfollow liberally. Likely, a small fraction of your friends list is contributing 90% of the garbage. That guy you met twice who posts three times a day about his Kickstarter? Out. Your aunt who just discovered cat memes? Gone. Your college roommate who joined the Peace Corps and won’t shut up about it? Finished.

Be petty here. Unfollow your ex. Unfollow your relatives. Unfollow that guy who just makes you feel bad because he’s more successful than you are. Social media is intended to work for you. If something’s not making you happy, you aren’t obligated to look at it.

Use a Browser Extension

One recent thing I discovered is that you can use a browser extension called FB Purity to fine-tune Facebook in entirely new ways.

For example: the “trending topics” box. While the box has a button to let you restrict it to specific topics (like sports, or science and technology), this isn’t a global setting. It’ll go back to normal when you reset your browser. FB Purity lets you eliminate the entire box. No more Donald Trump Clicking Consequences: Why Donald Trump Is Your Fault Clicking Consequences: Why Donald Trump Is Your Fault Every time you click an article about Donald Trump, the media thinks that is what you want to read, and so it spends more time talking about Trump. Stop clicking! Read More , and no more Kardashians.

It isn’t just that, either. You can eliminate whole classes of posts you don’t want to see, like invitations to play social games or friends’ posts to other peoples’ walls. It’s entirely up to you. You can even get really fine-tuned, and block posts by specific keywords. I’m sure you can think of a few topics you never want to hear about again.

FBPurity

This is a really versatile plugin, and you can spend a long-time fine-tuning all the options. It even lets you rank posts in sequential order, instead of letting Facebook guess what you most want to see. This fixes another common complaint about the site.

FB Purity is basically an intelligent filter that lets you get rid of anything you don’t like. It’s also updated frequently to adapt to changes to Facebook’s UI and features 6 New Features and Changes to Facebook You Should Know 6 New Features and Changes to Facebook You Should Know It's difficult to keep up with Facebook changes, or know what's new and useful. So we are revisiting the best things to come from Facebook recently, in case you missed any of them. Read More . My only complaint is that the graphic design clashes with Facebook a little, and its interface can be hard to navigate.

How Facebook Should Be

With these tools at your disposal, there’s very little reason to get annoyed at Facebook ever again. Facebook doesn’t have to be irritating — it can be a legitimate way to keep up with friends and talk about interesting things, without getting bogged down in toxic cultural runoff and attention-seeking behavior.

What do you think? Did we miss any great tips? How is Facebook working for you? Let us know in the comments.

  1. Teresa
    October 17, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    I am typically on my phone while on FB. Not a pc. Un-following is great but you still get all the annoying notifications. Is there anything I can do to stop that?

  2. Kyle Butler
    March 6, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    I just made a Chrome extension for blocking any political post from your facebook feed, no configuration required. You can find it here> https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/politics-blocker-for-face/nnibeffkcgbakinncdllddlfdopdbcna

  3. keith1
    September 8, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    I've been using Social Fixer for some time. When I started it was definitely better than FB Purity, but I haven't been tracking FBP

  4. pc.techguy3
    September 1, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    FB purity is a great extension, I've used for over a year and it allows me to tailor FB to my wants. I gain some control back....

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